Physical Occupational Therapy
The Role of Physical and Occupational Therapists in the School
OT’s and PT’s are considered a related service and are members of the educational team that assist in the development of delayed skills. Therapists provide services with the intent of strengthening the child’s ability to function independently within the school setting, and meet his/her educational goals.
School based therapists provide educationally relevant services in school settings. Therapists are trained to provide many types of developmental and rehabilitative services. However, federal guidelines require the school based therapist to provide only those services that are necessary to enable students to access the educational environment of their school, and to benefit from their special education programs.
Considerations for Eligibility
When deciding the appropriate service delivery for a student, the Case Conference Committee must determine the least restrictive environment (LRE).
- Does the challenge significantly interfere with the student’s ability to participate in the special education/general education curriculum?
- Does the challenge in an identified area appear to be caused by limitations in a motor area?
- Can the student’s deficit areas be managed by the educational team without the expertise of an OT or PT?
- Can the student’s deficit areas be managed through classroom accommodations and/or modifications?
- Therapy in relation to other needs.
Related services may vary over time. Student therapy needs may differ in intensity and in focus during the student’s school years.
- Direct – Therapy techniques are administered by the therapist.
- Consult – is the means by which a therapist can help other professionals meet a student’s IEP. Therapy goals are implemented in the school environment with communication from the therapist typically quarterly to monthly.